Clay A. Bullwinkel: iPod ma polską duszę

Artur Kurasiński
3 września 2010
Ten artykuł przeczytasz w 6 minut

Clay A. Bullwinkel będzie jednym z gości na TMT.Startups’10, które (przypominam) odbędzie się 15-go września w Warszawie w Sali Notowań Giełdy Papierów Wartościowych w Warszawie przy ul. Książęca 4…

Kiedy Michał Faber anonsując Clay’a wspomniał o tym, że ma on dowody na to, że Apple w procesie konstruowania iPoda korzystało z know-how polskich naukowców omal nie wybuchnąłem śmiechem. I to w dodatku wszystko miało miejsce w Krakowie nie w Krzemowej Dolinie.

Traktowałem to jako newsa z kategorii mało obiektywnych doniesień tworzonych na fali podczepiania się pod PRową maszynkę Apple. To co powiedział Clay oraz dowody jakie ma przekonały mnie. Historia jest po części wariacka i brzmi dziwnie ale jest wiarygodna (szczególnie w wymiarze prawnym – dlaczego nikt nie dochodził swoich praw).

Poprosiłem Claya o podzielenie się również (a może przede wszystkim) informacjami związanymi z inwestowaniem i rynkiem VC w Dolinie Krzemowej w której Clay działa i pomaga młodym przedsiębiorcom znajdować partnerów w USA.

Jeśli będziecie mieli jakieś pytania do Clay’a na końcu zamieściłem informację jak można się z nim skontaktować.

AK74 – Silicon Valley really is the place to create a company that can conquer the whole world? How much of this is propaganda and how much truth?

CAB – It matters what technology sector you are in. If you are in automotive systems, you want to be in Detroit. If you are in energy, you want to be in California or Texas. If you are in the Internet or most other software, you want to be in Silicon Valley. The many reasons for all this, you need to be where the primary ecosystems including partnering opportunities are.

You don’t need to have all of your company here. You need at least one trusted person from your inner circle, which may even perform as a contractor. Why contractor? It is doubtful as a startup that you can afford full Silicon Valley employment and other costs. Think of $1 million per year to open your own office, if it is to function professionally and not flounder.

AK74 – From your personal experience: Poles working in silicon valley are better, worse than the rest of the people working there?

CAB – Poland is very advanced with science and engineering skills. Poles who work professionally in general management or marketing in Western Europe or the U.S. can do very well. Poles who have worked only domestically in Poland in general management or marketing are generally not equipped to function well in a place such a Silicon Valley. Remember, some of this is know-how, and some is know-who. It takes years to develop.

AK74 – Your story about that Polish scholars in Cracow constructed a device that became the inspiration for Apple is so amazing that unbelievable. Can you tell something more?

CAB – In the ‘90’s we co-designed and made with a Krakow-based company a leading solid state Dictaphone. I say leading because reviewers rated it higher than similar products from Olympus, Panasonic and Sony. We also made industrial PDAs similar to the Symbol products which Motorola acquired. The vision I brought was to expand into consumer PDAs, smartphones, MP3 players.

Unfortunately, the Krakow company went bankrupt due to reasons outside of our business with them. The designer of the iPod bought our dictaphones and some of the features, including shape and membrane, all quite legally, made it into the iPod. The lesson here is to listen to the man in the market, and manage your business responsibly so you can live to fight another day.

The photo below inside this email is a photo of the gray-colored Pocket BiteMate which came with a software application to transfer audio files digitally to and from a PC. One of the attached files is the front of the box of the Pocket BiteMate product which describes the applications for which it can be used. Another attached file is of the black Pocket Memo held in the hand. Pocket did not come with a software application but still could transfer files to or from a PC using analog cables. Both products were less than a centimeter thick and could easily fit in a pocket.

Apple’s iPod designer, who later became VP of the iPod product line, was highly impressed with the easy handling of the rectangular shape, the membrane keypad operation, the PC connection application, and the outstanding quality of audio circuitry. These aspects were highly influential for the iPod.

It is worth pointing out what was said in the yesterday issue of Silicon Valley’s main newspaper, the The San Jose Mercury. In the actual newspaper this article was titled: “The iPod evolution: Apple’s iconic iPod back in spotlight” Here is the article content online Here is the key excerpt from the article:

“The iPod, and the iconic TV ads of silhouettes of dancers that came with it, re-branded Apple as the king of tech cool a few years after Jobs returned to the company to help it recapture its role as a leading innovator long after it helped launch the personal computer industry. The pocket music players drew crowds of shoppers into Apple retail stores, where many consumers were reintroduced to the company’s sleek and easy-to-use Macintosh computers, triggering a surge of new sales. ‘It’s very hard to overplay the iPod in the resurgence of Apple,’ said Gartner analyst Mike McGuire.”

From 1988 to 2003 Apple had a market capitalization (market cap) of about $25 billion. The iPod was introduced in mid-2001. Today Apple has a market capitalization of $230 billion. The iPod was the primary catalyst for about $200 billion, or about 90%, of the current value of Apple. A product line created by Poles and an American in Krakow was a distinctly contributing influence. In this story there are vital lessons for today’s entrepreneurs, especially Polish entrepreneurs, who must believe that they can create globally competitive products and businesses.

AK74 – Lets say that I am a young entrepreneur and I have a product that (in my opinion) could become the second skype, google or facebook. What should I do? Go to VC fund?

CAB – A VC fund is a last step. There are dozens of steps in front of that, and a VC may not even be the good way to go. To sell a product and be self-financing is the golden goal. You need to have a team. You need to have a proper legal entity and ownership. You need to have a good plan, especially with regard to sales (which is also called distribution). In Poland there are very few professionals with multinational or global sales experience. So you need to bring someone like that into your circle. A good guide book is “The Art of the Start” by Guy Kawasaki.

AK74 – What is more important – money or the team? People are easy to find…

CAB – Money flows to businesses that have something of value to offer. If you don’t have money, it’s because your business isn’t offering something of value yet. People part with their money only when there is something of value. It is that simple. People are easy to find? Problem solving people are not easy to find and are precious.

AK74 – What is your role at „Sillicon Valley Flow” and how can you help young & ballsy polish entrepreneurs?

CAB – I am our founder and managing exectutive. Our motto is ” U.S. Product Development and Sales Services for Central Europe Technology Companies”. If a startup is multinational-capable and well-capitalized, we can bring it to the next level by partnering with bigger, U.S.-based leaders.

AK74 – In your opinion what will be „the next big thing” of Internet?

CAB – We are excited about many areas. Productivity applications. New forms of telephony. Various sectors in cloud computing and mash-ups. Specialized search. Enterprise 2.0 (enterprise social networking). Higher quality online gaming. Serious games. Precious resource management including energy and water.

Jeśli ktoś chce zapytać się o sprawy związane z finansowaniem projektów, szukanie partnerów w US poniżej znajdzie kontakt do Clay’a:

Clay A. Bullwinkel
Managing Member
Silicon Valley Flow, LLC

” U.S. Product Development and Sales Services for Central Europe Technology Companies”

Portola Valley, California USA
tel. (650) 851-7421 cell (650) 575-4725 fax (650) 851-0956
Skype ID: claybullwinkel MSN ID:

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